Rome ( - On March 27-31 some 22 bishops from Canada were in Rome participating in the semi-regular visits to Rome the world’s bishops pay every five years, to meet with the pope and all the offices of the Roman curia.

“The very first words [Pope Francis] said to us were ‘I understand that being a bishop is a very difficult task, and I want to thank you, and I want you to share with me what you’re experiencing in your homes, and allow me to talk to you as a pastor’,” said Bishop Kenneth Nowakowski of the Ukrainian Diocese of New Westminster, British Columbia.

Nowakowski spoke at length with Crux about their meeting with Francis on Monday 27, after celebrating Mass on the tomb of St. Peter, in St. Peter’s Basilica. Among the issues they spoke about with the pope during their 2.5-hour encounter was the youth, Canada’s assisted suicide bill, and sinodality.

The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church is the largest of the 22 Eastern churches in communion with Rome, and has a large membership in Canada, where many people went after leaving Ukraine.

Talking on March 30, Nowakowski also spoke about the “blessings” and “many challenges” of having married priests, something the Ukrainian church has had for centuries, in response to comments recently made by Pope Francis on this regard.

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Teachings of Christ

“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul?" (Mark 8:34-37 ESV)

Lenten Prayer of St. Ephrem

O Lord and Master of my life, drive away from me the spirit of despondency, carelessness, love of power, and idle chatter. (Prostration)

Rather grant to me, Your servant, the spirit of wholeness of being, humility, patience, and love. (Prostration)

Yes, O Lord and King, grant that I may see my own faults and not condemn my brother; for You are blessed to the ages of ages. Amen. (Prostration)

Random Proverb

"Hear, O sons, a father's instruction, and be attentive, that you may gain insight, for I give you good precepts; do not forsake my teaching." (Proverbs 4:1,2 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

What toil we must endure, what fatigue, while we are attempting to climb hills and the summits of mountains! What, that we may ascend to heaven! If you consider the promised reward, what you endure is less. Immortality is given to the one who perseveres; everlasting life is offered; the Lord promises His Kingdom.

St. Cyprian